Sustainable food to sustain us

Last year farming couple Clive and Carolyn Buttimer took the big step of setting up Clonakilty Beef; a sustainable business that sells Angus and Hereford beef directly from their Ballinascarthy farm to consumers. Clonakilty Beef sells a variety of frozen beef cuts in boxes that fit snugly into your freezer shelf. Half and quarter animals are also available for those who have a chest freezer and want even better value… or have a big family!

“We wanted to give local consumers the opportunity to conveniently buy local meat that has an exceedingly low carbon footprint,” explains Carolyn. “We want customers to buy our beef and know their money is enabling us to actively protect our environment, earn a fair wage and give them excellent beef for a really good price.” 

Rather than us all just talking around climate change and biodiversity decline, Carolyn and Clive want to actually enable people to buy conscientiously. “As farmers we are the custodians of the land and are privileged to be able to make one of the biggest contributions towards protecting it,” Clive says. “Every small action is worthwhile, however when a tillage farmer gets on board with sowing his entire field with flowering cover-crops to support pollinators, big change can happen.” 

“On our farm, the birds are feeding on the seed-heads from our cover crop and there is more food for birds of prey, like the buzzard,” Carolyn explains “ There are more bees and butterflies because they are feeding on our flowering phacelia, mustard, vetch and peas.”

“We recognise the importance of soil health as the basis for sequestering carbon”, Clive adds. “So we grow various depth taproots to nourish the soil, fix nitrogen back into the soil, protect water quality and retain essential nutrients. We’ve planted hundreds of trees and added to our miles of established hedgerows.”

The Buttimers recognise that as a society our global footprint needs to be less. In acknowledgement of their effort towards this, Clonakilty Beef’s farm is rated in the top five per cent of beef producers in Ireland for low carbon footprint. “That’s impressive as Ireland is already one of the lowest carbon producers of beef in the world because of our suitable climate and our land suitability.” 

Clonakilty Beef acknowledges that we all need to start eating less meat and as a family are reducing too. “But we also believe that Ireland is the perfect place to produce beef,” says Carolyn. “It suits our land and our climate. We believe that cattle have a key role in sustainable agriculture; grazing herbivores have always been a part of eco-systems and are important for soil health and sustainable crop production. Choose sustainable food and choose to sustain us too.”

If you’d like to be part of what the Buttimers are doing you can buy Clonakilty Beef online and visit their farm in Ballinascarthy to collect your beef. 

WCP Staff

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